The Nestlé corporation is the largest packaged foods company in the world, and also one of the most controversial for myriad reasons.
One of the most contentious issues regarding Nestlé and its business practices is its gobbling up of native water supplies across the country.
In Florida for example, residents recently fought back against a plan by the company to siphon 1.1 million gallons of water from Ginnie Springs, a gorgeous natural area near the northern part of the state with crystal clear blue waters.
Meanwhile in northern Michigan, residents previously celebrated a December 2019 court ruling during which a three-judge panel reversed a lower court decision that ordered Osceola Township to approve Nestlé plans to build infrastructure for more drilling from a wellhead near Evart, Michigan.
Even after the setback, Nestlé hasn’t given up…Not by a long shot.
Despite only paying $200 a year to the state of Michigan to pump more than 130 million gallons of water, the company is still not satisfied.
And after yet another court ruling in the Great Lakes State, they will now be allowed to drill more water from pristine natural springs than ever before.
Court rules Nestlé can pump more water from Michigan well
As noted in a report from Michigan Live (aka Mlive), the bottled water giant has been given the go-ahead by a Michigan judge to pump even more water for its bottled water brands.
The permit will let the company pump 400 gallons per minute, a 60% increase, from a well near the town of Evart in Osceola County in the western part of the state.
After being pumped, the water, along with water fro mother sources, is then taken to an Ice Mountain production facility, the report said.
The permit was first granted by former Governor Rick Snyder’s administration in 2018, but was challenged in court by Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Critics have said more pumping will harm the environment.
“It’s not the same creek,” one local resident named Borden, 73, told the AFP news service. “It’s narrower and deeper and therefore warmer,” compared with the “biting cold” of her youth.
“The trout can’t survive because the water is warmer,” she said.
Osceola Township is located about four miles northwest of Detroit, and has about 900 residents.
According to Judge Dan Pulter, who made the ruling, the rate is “reasonable under common law principles of water law in Michigan.”
Despite the ruling, the organization Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, which has previously sued Nestlé Waters North America, Inc., was disappointed but not discouraged by the ruling.
“This little setback, in one insignificant court, will not deter us from continuing our challenges to business as usual or our determination to enact laws and policies that actually serve all the people and preserve our ecosystems,” the organization said.
Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy will hear any possible appeal in the case.
Meanwhile, the pumping of water from Michigan’s waters will continue unabated. The company plans to continue pumping a staggering 576,000 gallons of groundwater per day from the headwaters of two cold water trout streams in the county following Pulter’s April 24 decision, during which he ruled that the pumping will not negatively impact the surrounding natural resources.
“What kind of message is this to Michiganders?” asked Liz Kirkwood, executive director of For Love of Water (FLOW).
“We allow corporations a resource that’s virtually free and, meanwhile, we charge over $200 a month for water that’s poisoned or unaffordable.”